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We've received many emails from fellow GPS owners having issues with "No Sound", "Intermittant Sound" or "Garbled Sound" with their GPS.

However, in order to troubleshoot this problem, we need to determine if it's a hardware issue, software issue or a possible user setting issue.

No Sound:

  • Try the obvious. Is your volume setting turned up?

  • Is the sound muted with the mute button? Is the mute box checked?

  • If your GPS has a FM transmitter, is it selected to "FM" or "Speaker"? The "FM" setting will mute the internal speaker. Setting it to "Speaker" will send sound to the speaker.

  • If your GPS has a headphone jack, try plugging in a set of heaphones. Do you hear sound now? If not, gently wiggle the plug in the jack. Does the sound come and go? Does the headphone jack appear to be loose and move around?

    Garbled Sound / Weak Sound:

  • Does the sound seem to be better at lower volume settings?

  • Is the sound garbled for all audio? Like MP3 audio, touchscreen beeps and voice directions?

    If none of the above suggestions have helped you and you still can't hear audio or if the sound is garbled, then we now have to determine if the internal speaker is defective. The easiest way to do this is:

  • Plug a set of headphones into the headphone jack. Now try listening to the sound. Listen for the touchscreen beeps, MP3 audio, voice directions, etc. Try adjusting the volume while using the headphones. If you can hear sound through the headphones and it's loud, clear and not garbled, then your internal speaker is defective.

    The headphone jack is not only a jack but it's also a switch. When you plug in your headphones, the audio amplifier of your GPS is switched from the internal speaker to the headphone jack. When you unplug the headphones, your GPS's audio amplifier is reconnected to the internal speaker.

    Now, if you can't hear audio through either the internal speaker or the headphone jack, you may have a different problem, such as:

  • The internal audio amplifier (hardware) is defective (rare).

  • The headphone jack has broken off of the main board. Does it appear loose or crooked in the case? See below for more information.

  • There is a software problem. You could try resetting your GPS with the reset button or perform a factory reset. The software problem is more likely if you can hear MP3 audio or touch screen beeps but not speech.

  • Distorted audio can also be caused by metallic debris that is pulled into the speaker diaphragm through the speaker grille. The metallic debris is attracted the the speaker's magnet and prevents the speaker's diaphragm from vibrating correctly and faithfully reproducing sound.

    Figure 1A: - Metallic Debris in Speaker
    Figure #1A: Metallic Debris in Speaker

    Figure 1: - Metallic Debris in Speaker
    Figure #1B: Metallic Debris in Speaker

    Speaker Seems OK but Voice Directions (TTS) Seem Low in Level

    The volume level for the text-to-speech (TTS) voices are controlled by a numeric value in the speech file (.vpm) itself. For example, the popular voice "Jill" has a volume level assigned to it of 65. If this number is modified to a larger value, say like 80 or 90, the voice will be louder. This may cause the voice to be distorted when the Nuvi's volume level is set to maximum and it may force you to lower your Nuvi's volume level to prevent the audio from clipping. You will find that the MP3 audio is much louder than the spoken voices. By changing the volume level in the speech file, you'll be able to make the voice level around the same level as MP3 audio. However, caution should be used to keep the levels as low as possible because excessive audio levels may damage the internal speaker. Be also aware that there has been some modifications to the audio levels in the speech files by the manufacturer on recent revisions to the the TTS voices. The manufacturer indicates it's to "normalize" the audio levels. This may have been done to prevent the voices from distorting at higher audio levels and/or a way to put less stress on the speaker. We can tell you that I have heard complaints by Nuvi owners that say they have a hard time hearing the voice directions over background road noise. Increasing the volume number will help with that issue. Ok, so how do you modify the level settings in the voice file? You will need a HEX editor program to modify the speech file. Just be aware that we don't encourage anyone to tamper with these settings and if you are not familiar with a HEX editor then we suggest not attempting to do so or at least allow someone who is familiar with one to make the changes for you. We won't be held responsible for whatever may happen... good or bad as a result of tampering with the speech files.

    GPS Speaker Information

    The GPS's internal speaker has a voice coil. The voice coil is nothing more than a thin piece of long wire, wrapped around a magnet, numerous times. If you can't hear any sound, it is very likely that this coil is "open"; meaning that the wire has broken inside. If the sound is garbled, this is an indication that the speaker is mechanically defective and not reproducing the sound as it should. The speaker has a "diaphragm" that moves in and out as it reproduces sound. If the diaphragm has been damaged, it can't move in or out like it should and reproduce the sound clearly. There is also a possiblity that the voice coil has shorted windings, meaning that instead of it being a long piece of wire, it's now shorted to its adjacent windings and is electrically shorter now. Again, this can impact the reproduction of sound. These speakers are made by an overseas manufacturer. It's very unlikely, that they will be interested in selling you just one. However, We have researched a drop-in replacement for the speaker and we carry them in stock. See below for more information.

    So, Why Did Your Speaker Go Bad?

  • It's possible it was defect in the manufacturing process and failed prematurely.

  • You might have had the volume up too high. I recommend using the lowest volume level possible. High volume levels put greater stress on the diaphragm and may overheat the voice coil. On some models that offer bluetooth, the phone audio level is much louder than the voice directions. You'll probably have to keep adjusting between the audio levels when you go back and forth between normal GPS operation and the use of bluetooth. There should have been a provision created to normalize the audio levels between both modes.

  • A speaker is an electro-mechanical device. It's subject to being damaged if you happen to drop or jar your GPS and/or operate it outside of its normal operating parameters.

    So, What's the Next Step?

    If your GPS is under warranty, we strongly suggest that you contact the manufacturer and tell them what happened. Tell them all of the steps you have gone through to confirm that your GPS's speaker is defective. If the warranty is still in effect, they should repair or replace your GPS.

    If you have no success with the manufacturer, feel free to contact us.

    Figure 2: - GPS Replacement Speaker Stock
    Figure #2: GPS Replacement Speaker Stock

    Figure 3: - GPS Replacement Speaker Stock
    Figure #3: GPS Replacement Speaker Stock

    Figure 4: - Rear View - 3xx/6xx GPS Replacement Speaker
    Figure #4: Rear View
    3xx/6xx GPS Replacement Speaker

    Figure 5: - Front/Rear View - 2xx/2xxW/7xx GPS Replacement Speaker
    Figure #5: Front/Rear View
    2xx/2xxW/7xx GPS Replacement Speaker

    Figure 6: - Original Garmin Speaker / Replacement Speaker
    Figure #6: Original Garmin Speaker / Replacement Speaker

    We carry NEW replacement speakers for several GPS models (In-house repairs only). To see our repair price list, please click [HERE]. Please don't attempt to make this type of repair unless you have the right tools and skills. You take the risk of further damaging your GPS.

    Notice to customers about purchasing USED battery and USED speaker parts : Batteries wear out over time with use. This is normal. No battery lasts forever. There is also a history of speaker failures in GPS products. Beware of USED battery and USED speaker parts. It is practically impossible to determine the amount of life left in a USED GPS battery and whether or not the speaker is in good operating condition. We have observed used leaky batteries, speakers with intermittent voice coils (sometimes working one moment and then not working the next moment), speakers damaged by liquid spills and/or coated by dust & debris particles that have entered through the rear speaker grille holes. SHARCNET-USA only uses NEW batteries and NEW speakers for all of our repairs. We also provide a full 90-day warranty on all of our battery and speaker products. Always make sure that your batteries and speakers are NEW and that they are backed by a full warranty. You might be offered a slightly cheaper quote from someone else but you need to ask if their parts are NEW and if they offer a warranty. Why take chances? SHARCNET-USA has a solid reputation for providing fast & reliable service with honesty.

    Broken Headphone Jack

    If your internal speaker doesn't work and you can't hear audio through the headphone jack, then it is possible that the leads of your headphone jack have broken off from the main board. On some units, you will receive a message saying that it can't switch the audio, because the headphones are plugged in, when there isn't any headphones plugged into the jack. In many cases, the jack can't be resoldered to the board because the printed circuit board traces have been lifted off from the board as well. See picture below:

    Figure 6: Broken Headphone Jack
    Figure #6: Broken Headphone Jack with PCB Pads Attached (Copper Color)

    The only way to repair this problem is to epoxy the headphone jack to the board and solder new wires from the headphone jack to the board. This is considered micro-surgery. If you would like to extend the life of your GPS's headphone jack, then I suggest purchasing a headphone extention cable or adapter. This will allow you to make numerous connections to your GPS without putting stress on the GPS's headphone jack. If the cable or adapter wears out, just replace the cable/adapter. It's much easier & cheaper to replace the cable/adapter than to have to repair the GPS. These accessories can be purchased online through several electronics distributors, including Radio Shack. Please note that when the cable/adapter is plugged into your GPS, the internal speaker will be always be shut off, even with the headphones unplugged from the cable/adapter. If you want to listen through your GPS's internal speaker, you will still need to unplug the cable/adapter from the GPS's headphone jack. However, if you use headphones a lot rather than the internal speaker, you can leave the cable/adapter plugged into the GPS and just unplug the headphone plug from the cable/adapter when you want put your GPS away for storage.

    Figure 7: Headphone Jack Extension Cable
    Figure #7: Headphone Jack Extension Cable

    Figure #8: Headphone Jack Adapter
    Figure #8: Headphone Jack Adapter

    WARNING!!! Taking your GPS apart requires the right tools. There are internal flex ribbon cables for the antenna, touch screen and LCD screen. These cables are very delicate and can be torn easily if you're not careful. The antenna flex ribbon cable runs through the swivel antena shaft and is very delicate. In addition, these devices contain components that are very sensitive to static discharges and can be damaged without using the proper grounding techniques. Please do not attempt to make this repair yourself unless your are qualified to do so. We have received numerous emails from people who have gouged and cracked their GPS's case and permanently damaged their GPS LCD screen and antenna! Save yourself the aggravation and possible damage to your GPS by allowing us to repair your GPS for you.

    Please feel free to fill out a Repair Request/Quote Form, which is located at the bottom of the left-hand menu. We'll be more than happy to discuss your GPS problem with you and attempt to offer a possible solution to have the problem resolved.

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